FENWICK: Back To Racing’s Roots

David Reutimann hasn’t fallen off the race of the Earth. He’s still involved in racing, just not in NASCAR. (Adam Fenwick Photo)
Adam Fenwick

CONCORD, N.C. — When a racer disappears from the world of NASCAR, it’s sometimes as if they’ve fallen off the face of the Earth, never to be seen again.

That’s obviously far from reality. Many racers keep racing after they leave NASCAR, but the public rarely hears about it.

A perfect example is two-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race winner David Reutimann, who competed in the OneDirt World Short Track Championship at The Dirt Track at Charlotte in late October.

“I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth, but at the same time I stepped away from the NASCAR deal,” Reutimann reported. “I’m not involved in that (NASCAR) in any way, shape or form. It’s a better living than I expected it to be, for sure.”

Reutimann, who made 235 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts, spends his days building dirt modified chassis, enjoys time with his family and races occasionally.
“I’ve just been building dirt cars and trying to be a dad,” Reutimann said. “When you’re Cup racing and doing things like that … my daughter rides horses and does a lot of horse competitions and is doing quite well with that. I didn’t get a chance to go to a lot of those things. Now that I’m not traveling as much I do that.”

Reutimann is far from the only example of a driver who has continued to race after leaving the bright lights of NASCAR. In fact, Reutimann was just one of four former NASCAR drivers who took part in the UMP modified portion of the OneDirt World Short Track Championship.

Joining Reutimann that weekend at The Dirt Track at Charlotte were David Stremme, Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader. All three remain active drivers, they’ve just closed the door on their NASCAR careers.

Like Reutimann, Stremme has also gotten into the business of building dirt modified chassis. He owns Lethal Chassis, which has steadily become one of the most-trusted chassis brands in dirt modified racing the last few years.

When it comes to selling his product, Stremme lets his results do the talking. Driving the Lethal Chassis house car, Stremme spends a lot of time on the road, racing and promoting his business to racers across the country. For Stremme, Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday is still a very appropriate phrase in his chosen profession.

Everyone in the world of motorsports is familiar with Wallace. He’s a fast talker, which goes perfectly with his day job of working for FOX Sports as a NASCAR analyst. When he’s not holding a microphone, Wallace travels the country with his dirt modified team, winning a fair amount of races along the way.

Schrader is a man of many hats. The 62-year-old competitor is still considered one of the toughest dirt-track competitors in the world and he continues to take home trophies every year. He even dusts off his NASCAR license once a year to race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Ohio’s Eldora Speedway.

On the flip side, he is also a championship-winning car owner in the ARCA Racing Series after Austin Theriault delivered Schrader a championship while winning seven races this season.

That’s just four examples of drivers staying busy after leaving NASCAR behind and we’ve got a few more.

Remember Sterling Marlin, the two-time Daytona 500 winner from Tennessee? He’s back in his home state and he’s still racing. One can find Marlin competing at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville during the summer, doing so despite suffering from a degenerative nerve disease called Parkinsonism that causes his right hand to shake.

Let’s not forget about Robby Gordon. This talented driver, who made a name for himself in both NASCAR and Indy car racing, continues to be involved in auto racing as the owner of the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks. Not only is Gordon the owner of the series, he is also a competitor and a former series champion.

What about Dave Blaney, a journeyman driver who came from the world of sprint car racing and is the father of NASCAR star Ryan Blaney? Yep, he’s still racing as well. Most recently he’s been driving the No. 71m sprint car for Motter Motorsports at select events. He also dabbles in big-block modified racing from time to time.

Lastly, how about Scott Speed? Anyone remember this former Red Bull driver who went from Formula One to NASCAR? Well, he’s put those memories in the rearview mirror and has made a name for himself as the kingpin of the Red Bull Global Rallycross tour. He’s won the series championship the last three years and currently drives for Andretti Autosport.

NASCAR isn’t the be-all-end-all of motorsports. It’s just one piece of a much larger puzzle. So just because your favorite driver doesn’t race in NASCAR anymore doesn’t mean they’re retired. There’s a good chance he or she can be found at a local short track — racing.